Night moves

We tried to go for dinner in The Orchard last night. At 8pm on a Wednesday, the place was absolutely packed, with a few tables reserved and a queue of people waiting at the bar for a table. Now The Orchard is an outstanding place that gets the mix of dining and drinking just right, but if you needed any evidence that the market in Brockley has changed, that was it. There are now lots of people in the area who want to drink and eat locally and have the means to do it fairly regularly.

The Barge was pretty full too and thwarted in our efforts to get a table at the Orchard, we went to Smiles. Despite being a little off the beaten track, they were doing a decent trade and we didn’t check Mo Pho’s but we’ll wager it was full too. There is clear demand in the area for another evening venue near Brockley Station.

Meanwhile, La Lanterna sits and rots, Gulen’s does its best to hide its existence from all but the most savvy Brockleyites and Essence of India somehow contrives to be empty most of the time.

Could new owners of Toads Mouth too crack the evening market? It will be fun finding out.

45 comments:

mk said...

Agreed. A bar or two would be grand. (Last time I say it, I promise).

Although, wasn't Browns planning on opening a bar space in their basement? What happened with that?

Anonymous said...

Been saying that for a long time. I live a few doors down from the Orchard and every time I walk by it is rammed. To that end, if someone did want to open a restaurant/bar I would love to invest some capital.

mid-towner said...

The Brockley Mess keeps threatening to open in the evenings, but it never seems to materialise...they are missing a trick.

There's also Just Thai Thai, another one that's usually empty, and which could do a roaring trade if it sorted out the (admittedly fairly major) issues that have previously been mentioned on here.

www.fragrancers.com said...

I know Browns has a Alcohol license and they have opened up downstairs so maybe they can get in on the Trend!

Ian on the Hill said...

As I sat the other night, viewing the idyllic landscape from the Brockley Barge window, I was thinking again where the economics can be in having the Lanterna empty and rotting and Gullen’s only available for hire (although its Sports Bar incarnation was a bloody disaster).

As for the Taste of India - if you want a plateful of sauce, rice and no meat or veg, while paying more than a decent Indian place, it's unbeatable.

I'd love to see a proper French or Italian restaurant open up. Personally I think the Lanterna failed not because it needed a facelift, but because the manager was rude, the food indifferent and the prices insane.

mp said...

I went for a walk in brockley on sunday eve looking for dinner,and the only open place was the Orchard, which of course was packed. As a result I took 172 and ended up at the new cross house....

Eating out fan said...

A couple of months back I learnt the Toad's Mouth Too had secured a new owner, and that they were keen to do the work to move the kitchen downstairs. All good signs so far that another evening option could be opening soon!

Sexy Sandra said...

Nick, if you can persuade Babur to open a branch in Brockley then my estimation of you will be limitless.

Mb said...

I think we should use the localities fund to bribe la querce to move. That lot down the road won't miss them ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah - you have book the Orchard to have a hope of a table! I'm pleased for them, as they deserve the success...but we need it cloned!

(And perhaps a burger option added to the otherwise fine menu!)

Anonymous said...

Why have you only mentioned the pro-mung establishments?

mintness said...

Anon@13:02 - To give you something to do with your life.

R Mortis said...

Sigh...here we go again.

R Mortis said...

That was in response to anonmungous troll
BTW

TM said...

I am told on the grapevine that a buyer is in the frame for the Wickham.

If they start doing food (other than the barbeque) it might attract more custom...

I suspect La Querce are too busy with their Blackheath Branch to consider Brockley at present.

mid-towner said...

@anon 13.02 - please do tell us about the "non-mung" places where we can go and eat (not just get a take-away) in the evenings.

Oli said...

God this mung bean stuff is boring.

Anon 13:02 - did you not read the article? Nick went to the Barge instead of the Orchard.

How about you take your class-chip off your shoulder for maybe 3 seconds and read what's actually been written rather than revealing your tedious and irrelevant prejudices?

Ramble said...

I was hoping that the Orchard would take the units next to them and move the resturant there. I realise that these units are occupied now.

I have been trying to spread the word about the potential for a drinks/dinner place in Brockley. I love the Orchard but you really shouldn't need to book a table for a mid week drink at your local.

Brockley Nick said...

Oli, to be fair, I didn't actually go to the Barge, I went to Smiles. But I did mention the Barge, Mo Pho, Smiles, Gulens and Essence of India, none of which even the most dumb of mung-joke-makers could accuse of being "mung", so your point stands!

I Broccoli Brockley said...

Ross at Browns told me downstairs at Browns is going to be a wine bar and they will be getting their wine from Degustation - y'know, to keep it in the 'hood. I think it'll be brilliant.

I agree that end of Brockley needs some more decent pubs and mayhaps even a place to dance.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ramble - it's good news that the Orchard is doing well, firstly because the guys that run it are great and it's helping to support the local economy and secondly because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to spot that there's an opportunity in Brockley for a local business that gets it right.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

TM said...

The borough that contains the Rivoli needs somewhere to dance?

IBB you need to go Crofton Park way more ;0)

mk said...

Anon 12:28 - Always wanted to open up a small bar with DJ booth - what are you thinking?

FrFintonStack said...

Why is Just Thai Thai always empty? I went there a few weeks or so ago to while away a few hours waiting for my flatmate after locking myself out, and had a great pork belly curry for a pretty good price with excellent service.

Danja said...

even the most dumb of mung-joke-makers

Is there a scale? I'd always assumed it was more or less absolute, just a fraction above flatline.

Headhunter said...

I went to Just Thai Thai while ago, from what I remember it was pretty average and they charged a fortune for a small bowl of prawn crackers which they put on the table without asking if we wanted them. Also the food took aaaages because there was a steady stream of takeaway customers who were prioritised over us, the only customers in the actual restaurant... They could do so much better...

Anonymous said...

Yes somewhere to dance would be wonderful, all of the restaurants mentioned are not very big, how many covers do they have? Even the Barge for a Wetherspoon is not huge.

Think The Rivoli is only open for special events and filming (looks good in 'One Day')

Anonymous said...

I ordered a take away Thai Thai when I first moved to Brockley about 2 years ago.

The food was dreadful and included some brown mouldy lettuce and some seafood that smelt so bad that I’m sure if I had plucked up the courage to eat it then I wouldn't be here typing this post today.

It may have upped its game since then but I personally have been scarred.

zeppo said...

Just Thai Thai has always had a reputation for poor service and average food. Everywhere smelt very damp for ages (don't know if they ever solved that as I've not been back) and I was also put off by anecdotes relating to certain forms of insect life spotted on the walls en route to the loos, and the waiting staff being less than welcoming to certain sections of the community.

A shame, as it's a good site.

dor said...

The thread's called "Night Moves" and people are calling for a dance spot...go figure!

Anonymous said...

Yep, DANCING.

What happened to Grizzly Bar? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

The Orchard clone should open in ladywell. Could take over Masons and the empty unit next door.

Blue Sky said...

I was also out for dinner at 8pm last night, walked past the Orchard and saw that it was 3 people-deep at the bar. I can confirm that Mo Pho was full at that time, as I got the last table. It was, incidentally, my first visit and I loved it.

Anonymous said...

mk 14.27 - I have lived in Brockley for 5 years and know the area is great but lacks amenities. Chiefly among these are a few more nice restaurants with a proper bar. Something like Jam Circus up at the Brockley Cross End would be nice. Every time I walk by the Orchard its packed so there is surplus demand out there which means potential money to make.

hill of beans said...

People are moving from Brockley to Catford via E Dulwich. Brockley too expensive now oh dear. Lordship Lane displacement?

Brockley Michael said...

The other night a friend was visiting from Telegraph Hill. I showed him round Toads Mouth Too just before it shut, so we could see what might've been, then ambled to The Orchard... But it was Edmund's birthday (happy birthday Edmund!) and a roulette wheel was being set up. Mo Pho was rammed - queues out of the door for takeaways there aren't rare - which left the Barge. Or a walk to the Talbot, which is what we did. Certainly there are venues empty; is there any sort of local funding available to prospective business start-ups to make use of these?

Anonymous said...

Great news re Toad changing hands. The menu was rubbish, basic food done badly and I always felt I was charged more than it should have been when I paid. Lastly, the same people take money as handle food which is completely disgusting.

Nick, an alternative option would be the Talbot where the food is better than the Orchard but the manager off-putting.
Eg having been every week for ages- us "hello, nice to see you again"
Him " have you been before?"

Either that or he has a great line in deadpan.

Brockley Michael said...

Also, Brown's has looked busy on Sundays, rewarding the decision to open seven days a week. Glad to see that; superb coffees, and the cakes are always a treat. A wine bar downstairs, you say, supplied by Degustation? Can't fail. More of independent businesses doing things well - Brockley's good at this.

Ben said...

would love to know if Browns can be a wine bar in the night time! :)

btw.. never see "Yellow River" or the comment on Chinese take away here. Some are nice but some are so-so, in my view..

if some smart entrepreneur seek to open a Japanese/Chinese restaurant here. i bet it will be successful !

:)

... said...

i wouldn't say wine bar, but we've spent the last month fitting out the basement with seats, storage and a toilet so that we can open in the evenings.
from next tuesday (30th august) we will be opening in the evenings monday - thursday until 11pm.
it will not be, by any stretch of the imagination, somewhere to get dinner but just somewhere to have a drink after work. desgustation have helped us find a couple of wines (there will be one red, one white, one rose and probably some proseco) there will be a constantly changing bottled beer menu. as well as a couple of mixed drinks, which also will keep changing.
bread, cheese, meat and a couple of other snacky things and that's it. the idea for us is to keep it very simple to start with. i would like to do some different things with food in the evenings, maybe open more evenings and extend out drink offerings in the future but we'll see how this goes for the moment..

Anonymous said...

How big is the downstairs space?

Sounds great!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Brockley is a great opportunity for a retailer. However, I do understand why reatilers are hesitant to invest here and that is that the available units are not positioned in very ideal location and most of them dont look very nice from the outside as well. The solutions could be is to get rid of the gargage behind The Barge and great a few new retail units with a more appealing look from the outside. This way Brockley gets more of a village feel and links the station area with brockley road. Lewisham planning please review...;)

Anonymous said...

Why oh why oh why isn't someone making better use of the Lanterna space, for goodness' sake?! Surely it can't be in the landlord's interests to keep it standing there empty month after month. It's not a bad size and someone with an eye for creating a good atmosphere could do wonders with it.

Anonymous said...

The Browns plan sounds great - a small bar to pop for after work drinks is definitely something Brockley could do with.

Anonymous said...

Not brockley I suppose but theold haberdashers does it for me, please go if you have not tried it yet. Great addition to the area

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